Today I was asked to make a broccoli soup – I pander to a soup lover. After walking through the meat section of the super-market I decided only a vegetarian soup would do and while I was at it, I figured, may as well go all the way and made it vegan. It turned out nicely, I especially love the buckwheat grain on top, which was an idea I picked up at this restaurant here Zur Säge Flüh.
BROCCOLI AND HAZELNUT SOUP WITH LEMON JUICE – SPRINKLED WITH ROASTED BUCKWHEAT GRAIN
If you are going to serve with the roasted buckwheat grain then start this off in a skillet first to save time, see recipe below.
Ingredients broccoli soup – 2 heads of broccoli, roughly torn into florets and the stems chopped into pieces , I used the entire vegetable. Place in saucepan cover with water and simmer until cooked but still with a nice “bite” to it. 2 cloves garlic (I didn’t chop mine but you can if you want to, but then they burn easier), 1 medium yellow-skinned onion roughly chopped, – heat up to 1 tablespoon olive oil* in a big saucepan, add the onions and garlic – saute, turn heat down low, cover with a lid, and stir from time to time until soft and golden – around 10 – 15 minutes. Meanwhile blend 60 g hazelnuts with 1/2 cup waterin a blender until you have a rough paste – add this paste to the onions and garlic when they are soft and golden. Stir in the nut paste and add the broccoli. Puree everything and add broccoli cooking water until you have reached your ideal soup thickness.
Heat the soup and season with salt. Add the juice of 1/2 a fresh lemon, and a */ **tablespoon of lemon flavoured olive oil. I am addicted to the stuff, make sure you buy only oil with natural lemon flavour.
*if you cannot get it you could probably add the zest of 1 lemon and 1 tablespoon olive oil instead. An other very viable alternative would have to be a tablespoon of hazelnut oil, but I didn’t have any to hand. If you skimp on the oil you will impact the flavour.
** If you worry about cooking with oil remember you need it to absorb fat soluble vitamins ADEK also if you end up with about 2 liters of soup, and have used 2 tablespoons of oil you are looking at around 1 tsp of oil per serving.
Time needed: about 45 minutes start to finish not counting the buckwheat grain, depending on level of perfectionism when cooking and your experience.
ROASTED BUCKWHEAT GRAIN
1 cup buckwheat grain, cook in boiling water for around 15 minutes until soft. Drain the water and discard. Heat a heavy skillet on the stove top add in your buckwheat and stir while the water evaporates. Remove from the skillet, add some olive oil and heat when almost sizzling add the buckwheat back in turn heat to medium and roast until crunchy – about 20 minutes. It takes a while but it is worth it. Leave to cool and sprinkle on top of your soup before serving. Like croutons only much healthier. Yum!
Time needed: about 40 minutes. If you start the buckwheat process BEFORE you start the soup, you will be able to do it all in parallel and be ready to serve on time!
We enjoyed the soup with some bread, some Magner’s cider and some Roquefort, which admittedly is not a vegan touch, but did go very well.